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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  November 1, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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this is "world news." tonight, breaking point. a cry for help from a new york town turned into a hellscape by the storm. and we're there as people break down on the street. >> we need help. endless lines. hours for the bus. hours to get gasoline. falling trees. the storm sending a message about danger in your yard. where should your family ride out the next storm? oval office exclusive. five days to go, the first of our personal portraits of the men who want your vote. and, jackpot. the woman who didn't know she'd won $23 million and at the last minute found the ticket in her car.
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good evening. as we come on the air, it is getting darker and colder in new york and new jersey and the storm zone. more than 4 million people heading into their fourth night without power. and tonight, anger is erupting in some communities near new york, like staten island, where they are sending a plea to elected officials, do not forget us. and we want to show you some new and apocalyptic images coming in from the storm zone now. children wandering in a kind of moonscape. teams of rescue workers patr patrolling submerged streets. and body bags after sandy has now claimed nearly 40 lives. more than half of them on staten island, so close to manhattan, but living in devastation. and tonight, "nightline" anchor cynthia mcfadden is there where after four days the community is shaken. cynthia? >> reporter: good evening, diane. every massive tragedy has within it a whole series of smaller
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ones. one such played out behind me, though, that staircase led to a house where a mother, father and 13-year-old girl lived. only the mother survived. staten island is a whole series of stories, just like that one. in staten island today, a cry for help. >> we're going to die! if we get killed with the weather, we're going to die! we're going to freeze! we got 90-year-old people! >> reporter: this woman pleading with government officials for gasoline, food and clothing. >> you don't understand. you've got to get your trucks here on this corner now! this is three days. >> reporter: this is one of the hardest-hit communities in new york city. thousands still without power, many homeless. 19 people dead. in devastated neighborhoods overwhelmed by a violent surge of water, residents describe a supersized wave, as high as 20 feet.
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>> it was coming in rushing like rapids. >> reporter: well, welcome to your house, huh? we met this man, mike abruzzo. his house is completely gone. just the floorboards remain. he and his wife and two young daughters have been staying with relatives. >> and my youngest daughter yesterday, faith, said, daddy, i want to go home. i told her it's going to be awhile, hon. she don't understand, she's 6. >> reporter: he gives us a tour of what once was. one beautiful christmas plate. >> christmas plate. >> reporter: that's going to be a special plate at your house. >> that's going to have my mother's cookies on it. >> reporter: for 48 hours, search teams have been hunting for two brothers, just 2 and 4 years old, swept out of their mother's arms after their car was caught in the floodwater. today, their small bodies were found. staten island officials today sounded increasingly desperate. >> this is america. this is not a third world nation. we need food. we need clothing. >> reporter: as for the woman who was begging officials for help, well, we're happy to say,
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a red cross truck is on her street tonight with plenty of food and water. the national guard is here, and things are much better, according to the city officials we spoke to. diane? >> thanks so much, cynthia. and i know you'll have more on "nightline" tonight. and we want you to know, "world news" is also going to keep calling to make sure all the promised help did, indeed, arrive. and what about the race to turn on heat and light for more than 4 million people? tens of thousands of workers are out on the job, including those who are rushing in to help from across the country. and abc's ron claiborne reports on their race against time and temperature. >> reporter: it's a massive effort for a massive problem. 64,000 utility workers in a dozen states working around the clock to turn the power on. in remote areas of appalachia and from ohio well into new england, it's a race against time, as temperatures drop into the 30s in places. >> it's cold. it's dark.
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>> we know this is a big deal. we know it's cold out. we know it's going to rain in a few days. we know we need to get lights on as quickly as we possibly can. >> reporter: getting the lights on means bringing in more than 40,000 workers from 49 out of 50 states. in california, the air force began air lifting more than 60 utility vehicles to new york today, aboard huge cargo planes. and tonight, these workers from alabama pitching in near hard hit atlantic city. >> they understand the value that comes from being able to serve others. >> reporter: at its peak, more than 8 million customers had no electricity. it's half that number now. and a million more get their power back each day. better than after hurricane irene. on long island, we found this crew working 16-hour days, their own homes without electricity, repairing a downed line for powerless residents. >> i saw the truck down the street. i said, i hope they're coming my way. >> reporter: the crew was. and moments later, lights came on for the first time since monday.
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[ cheers ] >> hey! >> we just got our lights back. thank you, lord. >> reporter: these workers here you see behind me, they are replacing a telephone pole, utility poles that were blown over by the storm. it is slow work. takes about two hours to remove and replace each one of them, it gives you some idea why it could be a week or longer before everyone gets power back. and, diane, in the meantime, it is forecast, there could be a winter storm approaching the northeast sometime late next week. >> that is worrying news. thank you so much, ron. and now, i want to take you out into an invisible world in the skies of new york city, where senior citizens are prisoners in their own homes. stuck in high-rise buildings, unable to walk down, food and medicine running out. but today, 1 million meals and 1 million gallons of water were deployed by the national guard, and i climbed the stairs with a nurse from the visiting nurse service of new york, as she made her rounds. they are out in the dark, the national guard.
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city meals on wheels. >> thank you for coming to my door. >> reporter: carrying heavy loads up stair after stair in high-rises. >> it's really dark. >> reporter: people like nurse rosita ortiz, one of the thousands of people who work with visiting nurse service of new york, checking on patients who have little food, little water, no power. can i carry that pack for you? >> no. >> reporter: what kind of medicine for her? >> she's basically short of insulin. >> reporter: 17 stories later, we knock on the door. carmen wester, and her daughter, homebound, her daughter on a walker. we want to know how you're doing. >> i am doing fine. >> reporter: really? >> i was scared to death. >> reporter: they tell us, this is their only water. that's all the water you have left? >> it's almost gone. >> reporter: they've also run out of batteries. they used candles last night. >> last night, it was dark. it was dark.
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and i was going like this, touching the walls to get to the bathroom. i was this close, i couldn't find the bathroom. >> reporter: rosita checks carmen's blood pressure, takes her temperature, makes sure she's all right. and carmen shows me the carmen she used to be. >> i was 26 years old. >> reporter: as we head back downstairs, an endless stream of need. a 70-year-old woman trying to carry up jugs of heavy water. oh, this is heavy. let me. a 53-year-old woman who has to read lips, who tells me she has breathing problems, her chest hurts. would you come down and go to see a doctor? >> yeah. >> reporter: okay. you come with us. we take her to the emergency room. they'll take care of you. >> thank you. >> and they are taking care of her, and we will check back on the people you just saw. and, by the way, we are getting water and batteries to carmen
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and her daughter for tonight. and we mentioned the 4,300 members of the national guard working tonight in the storm zone. we stopped by the 69th regiment armory today, and we thought you might like to know, they are able to deploy because of generators supplied by very unlikely angels -- victoria's secret. they had backup power on hand in preparation for a splashy fashion show next week and gave it to the national guard. way to go, victoria's secret. so progress is being made, but we also want to take you around a city trying to get through the day in gridlock. look. legions lining up to board buses. and across the region, someone called it gasmageddon, as huge lines swelled at gas stations, waiting for hours to fill up their plastic gas containers or their tanks. and abc's alex perez has that story now. alex? >> reporter: well, diane, there's a line of cars over there, but i want to show you this line of people. some of them have been waiting
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for hours, hundreds of them, to get a gallon of gas for their generators. it may not seem like a lot but at this point, it's the only way to get by. superstorm sandy has led to a flood of desperate drivers waiting in lines miles deep just to get gas. so we're here in new jersey, where the line of cars waiting for gas stretches out of sight. we're going to find just how long the line is. car number 5. 28. light pickup, number 58. >> i got here at 9:59 a.m., and it's 1:00 in the afternoon. i'm by myself. i can't leave the car. i feel like i'm going to faint over here. >> reporter: 102. but lines in new jersey and new york today, not just for gas. >> you're seeing the line completely around the building. >> reporter: with the subway largely out of commission in brooklyn, the line of people waiting for the bus stretched for blocks. >> where are the buses? >> reporter: driving wasn't much easier, either. checkpoints were set up on the highways to force people to carpool.
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so this is car number 150 and this line continues, further than the eye can see. after hours of waiting, those at the end are in for some bad news. >> no more gas, guys. >> reporter: sandy may be long gone, but certainly not forgotten. and here, they are pumping gas until they run out but some owners tell me, they have already gone completely dry, out of gas. and some of them say it will be at least ten days before they're able to restock. diane? >> all right, alex, thank you. and, now, the race for the white house. a note about the storm, voting and today, president obama and governor romney back out making their case to voters as the clock ticks down. five days until americans go to the polls, "your voice, your vote," and tonight, our brand-new abc news/"washington post" poll shows this. the president with a one-point edge. he also got a big helpful endorsement today, and i want to bring in "good morning america" co-anchor, anchor of "this week," george stephanopoulos. george?
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>> reporter: that's right. mayor michael bloomberg, of new york city, independent mayor michael bloomberg, had criticized president obama in the past, said he was not going to endorse. today he came out and said he's endorsing the president because he believes he's best positioned to lead on the issue of climate change, which the mayor believes had an impact on this hurricane. of course, that comes on top of that praise from governor chris christie, the republican governor of new jersey yesterday, and the poll you just cited, diane, also shows that nearly 8 out of 10 americans think the president has done a good job handling this hurricane. >> what about the voters who are worried they're not going to be able to vote because of this storm? >> reporter: action is being taken already. governor christie of new jersey has said that the absentee ballot deadline will be extended, that the offices will be open for longer. and they're also going to do this, diane. they're going to get department of defense trucks to go into neighborhoods so people can vote at the trucks if their polling place is closed. >> okay, george, reporting in. and we'll be covering it all the way through these five days. thank you, george. and coming up, the storm danger in your backyard. trees crashing into homes. how much can your roof endure?
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told me, it happens even though some people take precautions, trying to secure their trees? >> reporter: even if you take all those precautions, you could still end up like this family, with a tree in the middle of their home. as some say, it's just the price we pay for having large trees around our houses. trees falling like dominos. >> it hit your car, oh, my god. >> reporter: some with deadly results. those two boys playing and watching tv in north salem, new york, when this 100-foot oak fell and killed them instantly. trees down all along the east coast. >> the wind grabbed it. ground was awful soft and it just, you know, the weight of the tree with the wind just took it over. >> reporter: the roots of a typical suburban 85-foot tree are only three to four feet below the ground. three to four inches of rain softens the soil around those roots, so, those strong winds can easily topple these big trees.
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and that is 2 to 5 tons of wood, a mass weighing more than an elephant, slice you will through a house's framing. and today's common building products and practices can't stop the tree. in fact, there are no building colds pertaining to falling trees. so, what can a homeowner do? >> infestation of insects right at the root of the tree. >> reporter: right at the base. >> they're eating away at it. >> reporter: arborists say look for holes from insects and woodpeckers in trees near your home. and ride out a storm based on where your trees are. >> if you have a storm coming, take a look up, see which way that tree is leaning towards your house, where it might strike and stay away from that part of the house during a storm. >> yuh-oh. >> reporter: advice that could save lives in the next big storm. david kerley, abc news, falls church, virginia. >> so, stay away from that part of the house. and, coming up next, on a completely different note, the woman who won the $23 million lottery and didn't know it. how her daughter and this surveillance tape made her very rich today.
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[ male announcer ] try new alka-seltzer plus severe allergy an intense burning sensation i woke up with this horrible rash on my right side. like somebody had set it on fire. and the doctor said, cindie, you have shingles. he said, you had chickenpox when you were a little girl... i said, yes, i did. i don't think anybody ever thinks they're going to get shingles. but it happened to me. for more of the inside story, visit we take a break from the storm coverage to tell you about that lottery winner, we could not believe. someone who did not know she had won $23 million, five months ago, and learned it by accident, right before the deadline. abc's nick watt is here to tell us how she found the ticket. nick? >> reporter: this is michael's liquor store in california, where the mystery winner bought her ticket.
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a $23 million winner, but the months passed and she just didn't come forward. lottery officials released security camera footage from michael's in the hope that somebody would recognize her. >> yeah, so, i remember the lady walked in, she bought a bottle of water, she purchased, she walked out. as soon as she headed to the door, her mom yes, ma'amed to her, she was like, just buy a lotto ticket. >> reporter: a $1 ticket, she bought only one, but time was running out to claim. the winner just told lottery officials that her daughter recognized her on the tv this morning. she then ran to her car, searched for that ticket and, thankfully, she found it. diane, a happy ending to this story. >> it is a wonder, it is a wonder. thank you so much, nick. and coming up here, for two nights, our portraits of the candidates. and, tonight, our exclusive oval office conversation with the president. what he told us about his most prized possession.
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and finally tonight, every four years, abc news brings you a personal portrait of the presidential candidates. tomorrow night, governor romney, but tonight, president obama.
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and the talk in the oval office before the storm, by the way. we begin this interview, though, four years ago, before the election, when i surprised the then-candidate, by creating a mock photo of his future as it might be. >> i have to say that i have fewer grey hairs than i anticipated. >> reporter: but as we know, that desk is exactly where he ended up, and he was right about the grey hair. every morning, do you have something you say to yourself, or -- you're not a ritual kind of guy? >> no, you know, this walk never gets old. it always reminds you of what incredible opportunities you have to do something that's going to make a difference in people's lives. >> reporter: this unlikely president, who credits the strong women in his life. his grandmother, who tried to work her way up at a bank.
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and his single mother, who taught him, in this world, anything is possible for any child. >> my biggest regret is that she never got to meet her grandchildren. she would just gobble them up. >> reporter: she died of cancer and never saw her son win an election. and what would his father think, the charismatic economist from kenya, who was also an alcoholic who abandoned his son. you wrote in the book, "every man is trying to live up to his father's expectations or make up for his father's mistakes." >> yeah. >> reporter: for you, both? >> both, yeah. that's probably why, you know, my family is so important to me. >> reporter: and in the oval office, behind the historic, resolute desk, his favorite pictures, including his wife michelle, who grew up in small rooms on the top floor of a house in chicago's south side. a working class family who managed to send their daughter to princeton. >> this one, i think, captures
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the three ladies pretty well. it seems like yesterday that i could hold them in my lap. now, it gets a little harder. since malia's like 5'9." >> reporter: who's going to teach her to drive? >> she has expressed great concern about that. we're going to have to figure out the logistics of that, but i promised her that she will, in fact, be able to learn how to drive. >> reporter: and on the wall in the oval office, a portrait he requested. he says it is a humbling presence. >> it's a good reminder, having him up on the wall, that this job's not supposed to be easy. and whatever it is that you may be weighed down with, it doesn't come close to comparing to what he had to struggle with. >> reporter: have you thought what you would say to any new president coming into this office? >> the only thing you carry into this office is a moral compass. and if you start making decisions based on what's
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politically convenient at the time, you will be lost. >> the first part of our series. and tomorrow night, we'll tell you about governor romney. thank you so much for watching. we're always here at "nightline," of course, will be here later. and, we will see you right back here again tomorrow night. and for all of us at abc news, we wish you a good night. tonight the murder of an oakland shop keep yerk his family is in tears. police vowing to find out who killed skmim why. >> a principal now on trial. tonight she defends herself against charges of failing to report a suspected molestor. >> in man represents a possible conflict in the san
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francisco sheriff's department. he's up on a domestic violence charge. >> a woman whose life has been taken over by a public garden. police were called when the i team began asking why. >> this -- is such a sad, sad moment. >> an oakland woman issues an emotional appeal for help in finding her father's killer. good evening, everyone. >> a family man, a=h5ñ positive member of the community cut down for no apparent reason. the search is on for his killer. we're live at the kre phone store where he was shot. laura? >> this family told us in a press conference they're an extremely private family but wanted to make a public plea


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